Baked Crab Rangoon

Crab Rangoon has long been one of my guilty pleasures. Whenever I order Chinese food, it's always included in my long list of must-haves. Well, that long list can get pretty expensive, especially if those cravings can be satiated with just a few wontons. So, in order to avoid spending $40 on a huge stack of takeout, I decided to try my hand at making crab rangoon myself. I thought I would bake them, rather than deep fry, in an attempt to make them "healthier."

I had to actually make this crab rangoon recipe twice, because for the first round, I had the oven too hot and a bunch of the wontons burned. It was very sad.

Yield: 20-25 filled wontons

Ingredients

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400 °F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Finely dice crab meat, scallions, and celery.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients (minus wonton wrappers and egg). Stir well to combine thoroughly. Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste.
    I used imitation crab meat, it seemed more authentic :)
  4. Working with one wrapper at a time, spoon one teaspoon of the crab mixture into the center. Fold wonton in half diagonally, moisten inside edges of wrapper with water, and press edges together to seal in the filling.
  5. Place sealed wontons on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
    The basic triangle is a timeless favorite, but if you're feeling bold, you can experiment with different folding techniques to find one you like best.
  6. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush each folded wonton with the beaten egg.
    The egg wash helps seal the wontons and adds a little extra flavor and sheen, but it is definitely optional.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until wontons are golden brown.
  8. Serve with soy sauce or sweet & sour sauce for dipping.

Okay, so, this whole thing was an experiment. My filling came out really well, and I was quite satisfied with the flavor, but I learned quite a few things about working with wonton wrappers:

  1. Anything wrapped in a wonton is fried for a reason. Wontons are quite flavorless on their own, and dropping them into a vat of delicious hot oil quickly fixes that problem. If you bake them, even if they are filled with the most delicious of fillings, the wonton wrappers themselves will still remain bland, and it will be noticeable.
  2. Wonton wrappers like to burn in the oven. If you fail to tuck down every last little corner, you will end up with a scorched, flavorless mess.
    These were from my first batch. I baked them at 425 °F for about 10 minutes. You can see that the edges have started to burn, while the centers are still undercooked. Learn from my mistakes: Fold the corners of your crab rangoons inward and use a lower oven temperature to ensure that they bake evenly.
  3. Crab rangoons from a Chinese restaurant are actually quite sweet. If you don't add sugar to your filling mix, it doesn't stand a chance at tasting the same.
  4. Folding and pinching 25 teeny tiny wrappers is really more work than it's worth (especially if you have to make the whole recipe twice). Next time I desperately desire crab rangoons, I will just suck it up and go support my favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant. I'd much rather pay the $5 for one order of a superb Chinese American appetizer, than go through all that work again. That's the sort of thing that should be left to the experts.
This second batch was much better than the first, but I still think that crab rangoons taste way, way better when they are fried.